Nent appoints Nørrelund to head sports rights and Viaplay expansion

Nordic Entertainment (Nent) Group has named Peter Nørrelund as its executive vice-president and head of expansion and sport, coming into effect as of August 1.

The role, in which Nørrelund will report direct to Nent Group president and chief executive officer Anders Jensen, will oversee the company’s sports rights portfolio and the expansion of its Viaplay streaming service.

Nørrelund has been advising Jensen on sports rights ever since Nent was spun off from media company Modern Times Group in 2018.

Most recently, Nørrelund held the role of chief executive officer of MTG-owned esports organisation DreamHack, as well as EVP and head of product development and incubation at MTG. He will continue to be involved with DreamHack Sports Games on a consultancy basis.

MTG and Nent operate as separate companies.

Nørrelund joined MTG in 2003 and has worked in numerous roles across the organisation and has been pivotal in the company’s sports rights acquisitions since 2006.

Kim Mikkelsen, Nent Group SVP and head of sport, will continue and report to Nørrelund, who will join the group executive management team in Copenhagen as part of his new role.

Anders Jensen, president and chief executive officer at Nent, said: “Viaplay is fast reshaping the Icelandic streaming market since launching in April and will come to the Baltic countries in early 2021, taking our footprint to eight countries.

“We are set up to expand and sports will play a key role in establishing Nent Group in many of our new markets. Peter’s unique knowledge, track record and global network in sports are invaluable, and we are delighted to welcome him to Nent Group.”

Nent is the dominant sports broadcaster in the Nordic region (Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden), and this year has agreed host of high-profile rights deals, headlined by the landmark six-season English Premier League deal in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden, from 2022-23 to 2027-28.

Nent launched its Viaplay services in Iceland in April this year, and has already started building its sports portfolio in the Baltics (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania) by acquiring rights to the Bundesliga, Formula 1 and NHL.

Last month, speaking upon the presentation of Nent’s second-quarter results, Jensen said: “We’re looking at sports as a very attractive differentiator for many of the markets we’re doing our homework on.”

Jensen has said that the company is looking at ways in which to “secure rights at favourable and attractive cost levels where we can spread our costs over more markets.”

He pointed to the Formula 1 deal in the Baltics which was described as a “bolt-on” and “secured as part of our Nordic agreement”.